1976 (Oct.) Appointed Economic Adviser, ANC (Nkomo), Geneva. 
1976 (Oct.) Appointed Political and Economic Adviser to ANC (Muzorewa), Geneva.
1980 Member of Senate
1980 Minister of Economic Planning 

Bernard Chidzero was born on 1 July 1927 in Salisbury (Harare), the son of a Shona mother and a father who was a migrant worker from Nyasaland (Malawi). He was the eldest of seven children.

His father, who had started as a farm boy, subsequently worked for a Native Commissioner and it was this official who took an interest in the young Bernard and helped him with his early education. Chidzero’s first school was on a farm and he went from there to Mutama, reaching Standard III in 1945 and becoming a convert to Roman Catholicism. In 1946 he obtained a scholarship to Marianhill, Natal, where he gained a First Class Matriculation in 1949. He then received a scholarship from the Southern Rhodesia Government to study at Roma University College, Basutoland. He graduated B.A. (University of South Africa) in 1953 with Distinction in Psychology. With the help of a scholarship from the church Chidzero then went to Ottawa University, graduating M.A. in Political Science in 1955. This, in its turn, led to an Alexander Mackenzie Fellowship in Political Science at McGill University, Montreal. While teaching at McGill he worked on a thesis (‘The Influence of International Trusteeship on Tanganyika’) and in May 1958 he received his Doctorate of Philosophy.

He then worked at Nuffield College, Oxford, where he studied labour problems in Nyasaland. In July 1959 he arrived back in Salisbury (Harare) with a grant from the Ford Foundation to carry out research into political developments in the Federal area since 1923.1 This led to an offer of appointment as a lecturer at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in Salisbury (Harare) but the offer was later withdrawn because of his marriage to a French-Canadian girl.

In 1960 he took a post as an Assistant Research Worker with the ECA in Addis Ababa, and has remained an international civil servant with organs of the United Nations until the present day. Notwithstanding his departure from Rhodesia he joined the NDP in June 19602 and in April of the following year he was a member of the party delegation which called on Lord Home to deliver a memorandum on the need for Britain to retain the reserved powers in any new constitution for Southern Rhodesia3

In 1963 he was appointed Representative of the UN Technical Assistance Board and Director of the Special Fund Programme in Kenya. Three years later he was made Resident Representative of the UN Programme in Kenya. In 1968 he became Director of the Commodities Division of UNCTAD with headquarters in Geneva. In October 1976 he was selected as an economic and political adviser to both the ANC (Nkomo) and ANC(Muzorewa) delegations to the Geneva Conference – a striking tribute to a man who has long been recognised as one of the foremost of the African intellectuals in exile.

It was, however, subsequently reported that his services had not been made use of by the time the Geneva Conference adjourned in December 1976.

Dr. Chidzero has participated in a comprehensive survey of Zimbabwe’s Economic position, having been in the Chair for the research committee. the report of his committee will be published towards the end of April 1980.

After the success of ZANU PF at the polls, in February 1980 it was announced the Dr. Chidzero would be nominated and elected to the senate, and nominated to the new portfolio of Minister for Economic Planning for the Zimbabwe Government. He returned to Zimbabwe for discussions with the Government in late March, and will take up his post when he has been released from his post at the United Nations.

1 African Daily News, 29 July 1959.
2 Central African Examiner, 18 June 1960.
3 Crisis in Rhodesia (Shamuyarira, p.6l.)